1 PRESS RELEASE FROM FEBRUARY 18 MASTERPIECES OF FUTURISM AT THE PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION. A RARE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GREAT WORKS BY THE MASTERS OF ITALIAN FUTURISM. One hundred years after the publication in Le Figaro on February of the Futurist Manifesto, signed by the jeune poète italien Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the celebrates this revolutionary avant-garde movement with the exhibition Masterpieces of Futurism at the, curated by Philip Rylands, director of the Venetian museum (from February 18 through 2009). The exhibition also serves as an homage to the foresight of Gianni Mattioli, one of the great collectors of 20 th century art, who accumulated a comprehensive presence of Futurism in his collection. This includes works by Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Gino Severini, Ottone Rosai, Mario Sironi and Ardengo Soffici. Masterpieces of Futurism at the presents key paintings of the movement such as Materia and Dynamism of a Cyclist by Boccioni, Mercury Passing Before the Sun by Balla, The Galleria of Milan by Carrà, Blue Dancer by Severini, three works from Peggy Guggenheim s collection (Severini s Sea = Dancer, Balla s Abstract Speed + Sound, and Boccioni s sculpture Dynamism of a Speeding Horse + Houses), as well as loans from private collections by Balla, Boccioni, Carrà and Sironi. This will also be the debut of a recent gift to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Sironi s early masterpiece The Cyclist (1916). The exhibition includes three of Boccioni s four extant sculptures: in addition to the mixed media Dynamism of a Speeding Horse + Houses, bronze cast of his celebrated Development of a Bottle in Space and Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. An introductory section of paintings, sculptures and drawings contextualizes the Futurist movement with works of other historical avant-gardes, such as Divisionism, Cubism, Orphism and Vorticism. Jean Metzinger and Raymond Duchamp-Villon explored notions of movement and the mechanical dynamism of modern life, while the London Vorticist Edward Wadsworth, who was inspired by the rhetoric of Marinetti, is represented with two woodcuts, Street Singers and Top of the Town, each of them recent gifts to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and now on exhibition for the first time. Marinetti s incendiary manifesto of 1909, which concluded From the summit of the world we hurl once more our insolent challenge to the stars, was literary in its focus ( the essential elements of our poetry shall be courage, daring and rebellion ), but it made a general appeal for the sweeping renewal of all aspects of Italian culture, predicated on dynamism, speed and technology. A year later five artists signed manifestoes of Futurist painting, on February 11 and April 11, They were Balla, Boccioni, Carrà, Russolo, and Severini, all of them represented with masterpieces in the Mattioli collection, which has been hosted by the since 1997 on long-term loan. Flavio Fergonzi s major work of scholarship, The, published in 2003 by Skira, documents the treasures of this special collection of 20 th century art in a broad and comprehensive way.
2 The programs of the are made possible thanks to the support of the Advisory Board of the and: website opening times: ; closed Tuesdays and December 25 admission: euro 12; euro 10 seniors over 65 yrs; euro 7 students; free for children 0-10 yrs and members further information: tel /415;
3 FACT SHEET TITLE MASTER PIECES OF FUTURISM AT THE PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION CURATOR VENUE Philip Rylands Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venice DATES February 18 December 31, 2009 PRESS CONFERENCE WORKS EXHIBITED ENTRANCE TICKET TO THE COLLECTION OPENING HOURS INFORMATION February 19, 12 noon 24 paintings, 4 sculptures, 5 drawings, 2 woodcuts regular euro 12; seniors euro 10 (over 65); students euro 7 (under 26 or with a student ID card); children 0-10 yrs and members free entrance (further information on membership: Entrance tickets allow the public to visit the permanent collection, the, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, the exhibition. Free guided visits of the temporary exhibitions, daily at 3:30pm. Reservation is not requested. daily from 10 am to 6 pm, closed on Tuesday BOOKINGS tel EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND GUIDED TOURS tel HOW TO ARRIVE From Piazzale Roma - Ferrovia (train station): vaporetto no. 2 towards Lido, get off at the Accademia stop (25 minutes); vaporetto no. 1 towards Lido, get off at the Accademia stop (30 minutes). From St. Mark s Square: vaporetto no. 1, 2, or 3 (for Venetians only) towards Piazzale Roma-Ferrovia, get off at Accademia stop (5 minutes). COMUNICATION AND PRESS OFFICE IMAGES REQUEST Alexia Boro, Maria Rita Cerilli tel /415 login: mostra password: futurismo Please, once published, send the article to:
4 MASTERPIECES OF FUTURISM at the Giacomo Balla Paths of Movement + Dynamic Sequences (Linee andamentali + successioni dinamiche) 1913 Tempera on paper laid on canvas 49 x 68 cm Giacomo Balla Dynamic depths (Profondità dinamiche) ca Tempera on paper 35 x 50 cm Private collection Giacomo Balla Abstract Speed + Sound (Velocità astratta + rumore) Oil on board 54.5 x 76.5 cm including artist s frame Giacomo Balla Mercury Passing Before the Sun (Mercurio transita davanti al sole) 1914 Tempera on paper lined 120 x 100 cm Umberto Boccioni Paduan Landscape (Campagna padovana) x 70 cm Private collection, Bergamo Umberto Boccioni Counterlight (Contre-jour) 1910 Pencil on paper 36 x 49 cm Private collection
5 Umberto Boccioni Study for The City Rises (Studio per La città che sale) 1910 Oil on cardboard 33 x 47 cm Umberto Boccioni Three studies for States of Mind (Those Who Stay, Those Who Stay, Those Who Go) 1911 Ink on paper 15,5 x 9; 8 x 11; 16 x 10 cm Private collection Umberto Boccioni Materia x 150 cm Umberto Boccioni Development of a Bottle in Space (Sviluppo di una bottiglia nello spazio) 1913 (cast ) Bronze ca. 38 x 59,5 x 32 cm Private collection Umberto Boccioni Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio) 1913 (cast ) Bronze 112 x 40 x 90 cm Private collection Umberto Boccioni Dynamism of a Cyclist (Dinamismo di un ciclista) x 95 cm
6 Umberto Boccioni Dynamism of a Speeding Horse + Houses (Dinamismo di un cavallo in corsa + case) 1915 Gouache, oil, wood, cardboard, copper, and coated iron x 115 cm Carlo Carrà Form in Circular Motion ca Charcoal and black ink with brush on paper 52 x 43,5 cm Private collection Carlo Carrà The Galleria in Milan (La Galleria di Milano) x 51.5 cm Carlo Carrà Pursuit (Inseguimento) 1915 Tempera, charcoal and collage on cardboard 39 x 68 cm Carlo Carrà Interventionist Demonstration (Patriotic Holiday-Freeword Painting) (Manifestazione interventista [Festa patriotticadipinto parolibero]) 1914 Tempera, pen, mica powder, paper glued on cardboard, 38.5 x 30 cm
7 Robert Delaunay Windows Open Simultaneously 1st Part, 3rd Motif (Fenêtres ouvertes simultanément 1ère partie, 3e motif) x 123 cm Marcel Duchamp Nude (Study), Sad Young Man on a Train (Nu [esquisse], jeune homme triste dans un train) Oil on cardboard 100 x 73 cm Raymond Duchamp-Villon The Horse (Le Cheval) 1914 (cast ca. 1930) Bronze 43.6 x 41 cm František Kupka Study for Amorpha, Warm Chromatism (Amorpha, Chromatique chaude) and for Fugue in Two Colors (Fugue à deux couleurs) ca Pastel on paper 46.8 x 48.3 cm Jean Metzinger At the Cycle-Race Track (Au Vélodrome) 1912 Oil and collage on canvas x 97.1 cm
8 Ottone Rosai Dynamism Bar San Marco (Dinamismo Bar San Marco) 1913 Oil on cardboard laid on canvas 55 x 51 cm Ottone Rosai Fragmentation of a Street (Scomposizione di una strada) 1914 with collage 63 x 53 cm Luigi Russolo Solidity of Fog (Solidità nella nebbia) x 65 cm Gino Severini Blue Dancer (Danseuse bleu) 1912 with sequins 61 x 46 cm Gino Severini Sea=Dancer (Mare=Ballerina) January x 85.9 cm, including artist s painted frame
9 Mario Sironi The Cyclist (Il ciclista) x 71 cm Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice Gift, Giovanni and Lilian Pandini, Bergamo, 2008 Mario Sironi The Dancer (La ballerina) 1916 Tempera and collage on cardboard 47.5 x 37 cm Private collection Mario Sironi Composition with Propeller (Composizione con elica) 1919 Tempera and collage on cardboard 74.5 x 61.5 cm Ardengo Soffici Small Trophy (Trofeino) x 38.5 cm Ardengo Soffici Fruit and Liqueurs (Frutta e liquori) x 54 cm
10 Edward Wadsworth Street Singers ca Woodcut 14.7 x 11.2 cm Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice Gift, Erina Siciliani 2007 Edward Wadsworth Top of the Town ca Woodcut 7 x 7.2 cm Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice Promised Gift, Erina Siciliani 2009
11 Giacomo Balla ( ) Paths of Movement + Dynamic Sequences (Linee andamentali + successioni dinamiche) 1913 Tempera on paper laid on canvas This study is the closest to Giacomo Balla s masterpiece, Swifts: Paths of Movement + Dynamic Sequences of 1913 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Balla was influenced by the chronophotography of the physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey who studied the flight of birds through the rapid succession of photographs. The paths of movement may refer to the flight paths of the swifts, while dynamic sequences refers to the repeated images of the birds beating their wings. Balla was interested in the analysis of movement, breaking it down into sequences of distinct images in linear rhythms. Giacomo Balla ( ) Dynamic Depths (Profondità dinamiche) ca Tempera on paper Private Collection In 1913, Balla began a period of intense experimentation, fully aligning himself at last with the Futurist movement, and taking as his theme the impact on light and the ambience of speeding automobiles. According to the artist s daughters he began by making direct observations of passing cars on the Via Veneto, Rome. The April 1910 Manifesto of Futurist Painting, which Balla had signed, declared moving objects constantly multiply themselves; their form changes like rapid vibrations, in their mad career. Spinning tires, the rectangular chassis and the urban setting are dramatized by the lines that radiate from the steering wheel. The pyramids may be concretions of the atmosphere through which the car is rushing, and relate to Balla s iridescent compenetrations experimental abstract drawings he was making at this time. Giacomo Balla ( ) Abstract Speed + Sound (Velocità astratta + rumore) Oil on board This painting represents an advanced stage of Balla s studies of the dynamic impact of automobiles on their surroundings, in which he attempts the representation of sound, in addition to speed and light. The zig-zags and crosses embody the roar of the motor car, while the swirling lines are Balla s sign for speed. The color scheme does the rest: the grey road, white light, green landscape and blue sky all convulsed by the passage of the red automobile. It has been proposed (but not proven) that Abstract Speed + Sound was the central and climactic section of a triptych, in which a car approaches, passes and recedes.
12 Giacomo Balla ( ) Mercury Passing Before the Sun (Mercurio transita davanti al sole) 1914 Tempera on paper lined with canvas This painting represents the definitive outcome of numerous studies Balla made following his observation, on November 7, 1914, of the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun. The event takes place in the upper central region of the painting, where a small dot, Mercury, is located near the circumference of a larger circle, the Sun. The dazzle of white triangles nearby can be explained as the impact on the naked eye as Balla looked away from his lens. The green cone, which terminates on Mercury, may correspond to the telescope and the tanned arcs and triangles to its smoked lenses. Umberto Boccioni ( ) Paduan Landscape (Campagna padovana) 1903 Private Collection, Bergamo Divisionism in Italian painting refers to a technique of deploying unmixed oil colors to intensify hues which, from a distance, merge in optical (rather than actual) mixing of the colour. Boccioni learned this from his older contemporary Giacomo Balla and was an admirer of the great Symbolist master (and theorist) of Divisionism Gaetano Previati. The technique was comparable to French Neo-Impressionism, though it differs in its linear brushstrokes, as opposed to the speckled effect of Seurat and Signac s pointilisme. This January landscape, years before the Futurist movement, shows Boccioni s mastery of this technique. The steeply receding furrows may be premonitory of his interest in swift movement. The Divisionist mark is still apparent in Boccioni s works of 1910 on view here, and indeed survives throughout his short career, even after his discovery of French Cubism. Umberto Boccioni ( ) Counterlight (Contre-jour) 1910 Pencil on paper Private collection In the early stages of his work with the Futurists, Boccioni was concerned with light, and its effect on the perception of volume. Several studies of light depict women, often his own mother, seated with back lighting (Contre-jour, the title of this highly finished drawing) from a window. In this portrait of his sister Amelia, motif of the oblique incidence of beams of light on the sitter s face recurs two years later in Materia nearby.
13 Umberto Boccioni ( ) Study for The City Rises (La città che sale) 1910 Oil on cardboard This is the only extant study in oils for the much larger The City Rises (1910, The Museum of Modern Art, New York). A consciously modern subject depicting the building site of Milan s first electricity generating plant in Piazza Trento is combined with a passéiste notion of rendering heroic manual labor and virile energy. The vibrant depiction of physical exertion evokes Marinetti s declaration that beauty exists only in struggle. With long filaments of pure color, in the Divisionist style, Boccioni dissolves forms in a strong early morning (long shadows) sunlight. Umberto Boccioni ( ) Three studies for States of Mind (Those who Stay, Those who Stay, Those who Go) (Stati d animo [Quelli che restano, Quelli che restano, Quelli che vanno]) 1911 Ink on paper Private Collection Assembled here are studies for two paintings of the first version of Boccioni s triptych States of Mind, now in the Civiche Raccolte d Arte, Museo del Novecento, Milan. Both the triptych format, and the conviction that art could represent a psychological state through color and form, were inheritances from European Symbolism. The scene is set amidst the steam, smoke, noise and confusion of a train station. Boccioni said he wished to convey loneliness, anguish, and dazed confusion. Later in the year, in November, Boccioni visited Paris, where he became aware of Cubism. He subsequently painted a second version of States of Mind (The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Umberto Boccioni ( ) Materia 1912 Materia (matter), grandly symbolic in its title, represents the artist s mother (mater) full length, her outsize hands plumb center of the composition. She is seated in a wrought iron chair, on a balcony (the railing is visible), of an evening, with a view of Piazza Trento beyond. In obedience to Futurist theory, the outdoors invade the scene: factory chimneys in the upper left, a pedestrian strutting beneath the acute-angled balconies to the right, and a tan-colored horse cantering out of the picture on the left. Though the intersecting planes (and the diagrammatic depiction of the mother s head in front view and profile simultaneously) clearly benefit from Boccioni s knowledge of Parisian Cubism, the weight of symbolism, the density of theory, and the splintering of form with light are peculiar to this phase of Futurism, of which this is one of the great masterpieces.
14 Umberto Boccioni ( ) Development of a Bottle in Space (Sviluppo di una bottiglia nello spazio) 1913 (cast ) Bronze Private Collection The still life is an unlikely motif for rendering Futurist dynamism. Yet Boccioni has merged outside and inside and given the bottle and dish on which it stands a spiral form that provokes the movement of the spectator around the table. It has been plausibly argued that this sculpture, and other nowlost works depicting a bottle, was an intentional riposte to the Parisian avant-garde: in April 1913, Apollinaire publicly announced a new tendency of Cubism, Orphism, which was predicated like Futurism on the depiction of movement. Umberto Boccioni ( ) Dynamism of a Cyclist (Dinamismo di un ciclista) 1913 The modern cycle, with its roller-chain drive, sprung saddle and pneumatic tires, was developed in the 1890s. Boccioni was himself a fan of the sport of cycle-racing. The lone figure in this highly abstracted composition of cones, fins and spirals, moves from right to left, his head down, his backside raised from the saddle and the blue number 15 on his tabard (upper center of the image). Boccioni s ambition was to create a unique sign for the cyclist s dynamic passage, representing simultaneously the sportsman s body deformed by swift movement and the space around him convulsed by his passage. Umberto Boccioni ( ) Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio) 1913 (cast ) Bronze Private Collection Boccioni considered this the climactic figure in a series of four walking (or running) men that he created in plaster prior to the exhibition of his sculpture at the Galerie La Boëtie, Paris, in June-July The forward and striding motion of Boccioni s armless figure recalls Rodin s Walking Man, which he had seen in Rome in Boccioni s intention was to visualize the merging of the figure with the space through which it moves, in a finite, absolute and unique form. Disappointed by the negative reception of his exhibition in Paris, Boccioni returned to painting. The first bronze cast of Boccioni s plaster was made in 1931, long after his death.
15 Umberto Boccioni ( ) Dynamism of a Speeding Horse + Houses (Dinamismo di un cavallo in corsa + case) 1915 Gouache, oil, wood, cardboard, copper, and coated iron This mixed media assemblage was Boccioni s last sculpture, approximately 18 months before his accidental death falling from a horse. It represents speed, almost literally represented in the arrowlike head of the horse, which causes the optical deformation of the houses behind (the sheet of cardboard) and of the horse in front. None of the horse s hooves are identifiable, and can be assumed to have vanished in the blur of the horse s passage. This has been mistakenly considered to answer Boccioni s own call for mixed-media sculpture in his 1912 Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture, whereas it more plausibly responds to similar assembled, collaged work in the recent art of Picasso and the Russian avant-garde. Much damaged in the 1930s, Dynamism of a Speeding Horse + Houses was erratically reconstructed after Carlo Carrà ( ) Form in Circular Motion (Forma in moto circolare) ca Charcoal and black ink with brush on paper Private Collection Carrà visited Paris in November 1911 on the invitation of Severini, and became aware of the first time of Cubism. This painting, dateable to despite the date 1910 inscribed in the lower left, perhaps depicts a subject popular with his friend Severini (a dancer in motion) and is rendered with the dabbed brushstrokes, monochrome palette and architectonic black lines characteristic of Picasso and Braque s painting the previous year. Carlo Carrà ( ) La Galleria di Milano (The Galleria in Milan) 1912 This painting of Milan s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II has long been considered one of Carrà most accomplished Futurist works. It is strongly influenced by Cubism, with which he was freshly reacquainted after a recent trip to Paris (February) for the opening of the Futurist exhibition at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune. Ardengo Soffici praised it as a plastic symphony in browns and silvery whites and ranked it among the greatest Futurist paintings. Carrà himself considered it a culminating point of my artistic activity in that period.
16 Raymond Duchamp-Villon ( ) The Horse (Le Cheval) 1914 (cast ca. 1930) Bronze Duchamp-Villon closely observed the movement of horses during his experience in the cavalry; he also studied the subject in the late 19th century photographic experiments of Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey. The original conception of The Horse was naturalistic, but Duchamp- Villon then developed a dynamic, smooth-surfaced synthesis of horse and machine. The animal appears to be gathering its hooves, summoning strength to jump. The sensation of pistons, wheels and shafts turns a creature of nature into a poised mechanical dynamo. The fusion of horse, traditional symbol of power, and the machine that was replacing it, reflects the emerging awareness of the new technological age in a way comparable to that of the Futurists. František Kupka ( ) Study for Amorpha, Warm Chromatism (Amorpha, Chromatique chaude) and for Fugue in Two Colors (Fugue à deux couleurs) ca Pastel on paper This study coincides with Kupka s introduction to the Puteaux group in Paris. This circle of artists, which included Duchamp, Delaunay and Metzinger, discussed the representation of movement in Cubist and Futurist painting, as well as relations between music and art. Kupka took as his starting point a series of studies of his stepdaughter playing with a blue ball. Moving away from naturalistic depiction, he isolated movement in a rhythmic series of colored patterns which follow an almost musical structure. The image is subjected to a process of abstraction: the pale green is the residual depiction of sunlight on the grass on which the child played. Otherwise the expulsion of natural light, of a sense of gravity and of spatial depth is almost complete. The two paintings for which this is a study were shown at the Salon d Automne in 1912, and were the first fully abstract, or pure paintings, to be exhibited in Paris. Jean Metzinger ( ) At the Cycle-Race Track (Au Vélodrome) ca Oil and collage on canvas Reflecting the growing interest in Futurism of Metzinger s theoretical writings, this work marks an essential transition in his painting: elements of Impressionism-the Pointillist depiction of the crowd-and a Cubist emphasis on the simultaneous nature of rapid movement, find their ultimate expression in the Futurist theme of the cycle race. The quasi-cinematic representation of the cyclist s progress between Paris and Roubaix (celebrated for the cobblestones of Northern French towns) echoes Marinetti s great call the unification of man and machine: We want to sing the man at the wheel, the ideal axis of which crosses the earth, itself hurled along its orbit.
17 Ottone Rosai ( ) Dynamism Bar San Marco (Dinamismo Bar San Marco) 1913 Oil on cardboard laid on canvas Between visits to the 1913 Mostra della Pittura Futurista in Florence, Rosai frequented the Bar San Marco, a setting which allowed him to represent in paint his state of mind at the time. Although the ambitious attempt to inject Cubist forms with raw futurist impulsiveness sees Rosai almost lapse into illustration, his bold touches and thick feathery outlines remain expressive for their sheer lack of elegance. Clumsy attempts at simultaneity (central forms fused along vertical axes amid busy arrangements of overlapping sheaths of light) are soothed by sensuously painted, richly varied colors that would later be critically hailed as characteristically Italian deformations independent of prevailing Cubist trends. Ottone Rosai ( ) Fragmentation of a Street (Scomposizione di una strada) 1914 with collage insert This crowded visual impression of a working class Florentine neighbourhood anticipates the suspended mood and simple treatment of rural forms in Rosai s later work. In a highly personal approach Rosai s impulse to distort by means of Cubo-Futurist devices (dismantling of solids and contours generating dense overlapping of angled forms) is anchored by a reluctance to abandon realistic observation. Recognizable motifs (a horse-drawn carriage, a red-tiled kiosk, a hanging street light) are isolated and emphasised within a texture of angular and broken forms allowing for a fusion of representation and abstraction that extends as a visual pattern across the entire canvas. Luigi Russolo ( ) Solidity of Fog (Solidità della nebbia) 1912 Under the cover of fog, Russolo merges a night in Milan with a Futurist reverie of revolt in Northern Africa. His subject matter was influenced by Marinetti s article, La Bataille de Tripoli recounting his experiences in Tripolitania (Libya). Marinetti s narrative was divided into segments: sunset in the desert, the night vigil, and preparations for the attack at dawn, which Russolo combines into a single vision. The figures serve simultaneously as soldiers in the desert and modern man on Milan s cobblestone streets. The nocturnal palette directs attention to the techniques of color refraction and the rhythmic relation between subject and atmospheric light.
18 Gino Severini ( ) Blue Dancer (Danseuse bleu) 1912 with sequins Painted in 1912, this work depicts the bourgeois café scene of pre-war Paris. The dancer is performing a flamenco to the sound of a violin (upper right): her hair draped in a mantilla, her fingers clicking and her eyelids lowered as she concentrates on her moves. The control required in executing this dance is conveyed by the dominant calming blue tones, which lend an emotional intensity to the work. Severini depicts rapid movement by multiplying the forms in a Cubist manner, as Balla did in the same period, and by applying real sequins to the canvas, which flicker as they catch the light, in the areas corresponding with the dancer s dress. Gino Severini ( ) Sea = Dancer (Mare=Ballerina) January 1914 In 1913 Severini went to the coastal town of Anzio to convalesce, it was here that he was inspired to paint Sea = Dancer. The pure colors in choppy brushstrokes derive from Neo-Impressionism which was still fashionable when Severini first arrived in Paris in The technique gives fluidity and vibrancy to this joyous subject in which the dancer and the sea are fused the dancer s costume likened to the crashing of the waves. The sea cannot be contained within a frame, and the waves thus lick the edge of the picture frame, moving into the viewer s space. Soon after this Severini painted pure color abstractions. Carlo Carrà ( ) Pursuit (Inseguimento) 1915 Tempera, charcoal and collage on cardboard This collage depicts a galloping cavalry officer, with knee-length boots, red trousers and a cylindrical helmet. The word JOFFRE below the horse s muzzle refers to Joseph Joffre, commander-in-chief of the French troops in the Great War, while Balcan alludes to the political troubles across the Adriatic. The clarity and solidity of the horse s form anticipates Carrà s imminent renunciation of Futurism and involvement instead with metaphysical painting.
19 Carlo Carrà ( ) Interventionist Demonstration (Manifestazione interventista) 1914 Tempera, pen, mica powder, paper glued on cardboard This work was first titled Freeword Painting (Patriotic Holiday). The now traditional title of the collage refers to a movement, strongly supported by the pro-war Futurists, urging the Italian government to intervene in the Great War in order to retrieve from Austria Italian-speaking territory such as Trieste. Words-in-Freedom were a literary form favored by Marinetti, founder of Futurism, which was exempt from rules of punctuation, grammar and conventional typographical layout. Almost all of the paper cuttings are from the Florentine periodical Lacerba; the word Odol instead is cut from a toothpaste advertisement in the Corriere della Sera. Mario Sironi ( ) The Cyclist (Il ciclista) 1916 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Gift, Giovanni and Lilian Pandini, Bergamo, 2008 Mario Sironi joined the Futurist movement in 1915, approximately a year before painting this racing cyclist. The Futurist component of the painting consists in the sporting subject of modern life and in the partial view of the back wheel, declaring the cyclist s forward motion into the painting and evoking photographic illustrations from La Gazzetta dello Sport. Conspicuous in this painting is the vehemence with which Sironi applied oil paint in vigorous choppy strokes on the grass to the right, with flicks of white to suggest the spokes of the wheel, streaks for the fast approaching camber, broad planes for the tense left leg and feathery touches for the slack right leg. Edward Wadsworth ( ) Street Singers, ca Top of the Town, ca Woodcuts Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Gifts, Erina Siciliani 2007 and 2009 Marinetti, founder of Futurism, was a frequent visitor to London, and several exhibitions of Futurist painting and sculpture were held there between 1912 and 1914, causing shock and amusement in the tabloid press. Futurist calls for sweeping cultural renewal were inspirational to young British artists. So strong was the identification of Futurism with new, rebel art, that Vorticism, when it was founded in the Spring of 1914 by Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis and others, was at pains to differentiate itself from Marinetti s movement. Vorticism has been called figurative abstraction, and how this paradox works is apparent in these typical Vorticist images of three street artists, dehumanized by mechanistic forms, and of a town seen from above.
20 Mario Sironi ( ) The dancer (La ballerina) 1916 Tempera and collage on cardboard Private Collection The dancer depicted here epitomizes the early Futurists conception of women. The traditional woman was considered to be a menace for men, a threat to their virility and their creativity. Sensual, feminine women, especially the nude, were to be banned as subject matter for at least ten years. In this painting, high heeled boots and an exposed breast signify that the figure is female, but Futurist theories of a new, Nietzschean species encroach upon her form. The result is a hybrid human-machine, a hygienic form with sleek, metallic appendages. In 1913, Valentine de Saint-Point published the Futurist Manifesto of Lust. Mario Sironi ( ) Composition with Propeller (Composizione con elica) 1919 Tempera and collage on board This crowded image has a propeller-like form in the vertical brown pasted paper. This is a clue to the recognition of a partial view of a bi-plane with a round fuselage, its wings separated by a vertical strut and a wheel below. The plane is flying in a night sky with a moon above. Yet this collage painting is hardly an illustration of early aviation. Its strengths, like of those of the nearby Cyclist are pictorial: clashing shapes and hues, a drama of lights and darks, comprehensible space confounded in a Cubist manner, and an inexplicable triangular clipping from a Spanish bulletin of pasta makers. Ardengo Soffici ( ) Small Trophy (Trofeino) The cosmopolitan Florentine critic and painter Ardengo Soffici was perhaps the closest of the Futurists to Cubism and the Cubists, together with Severini. As early as August 1911 he had written on Picasso and Braque in La Voce (the first printed discussion of Cubism in Italian). This elegantly colored still life (painted apparently over a collage) has more in common with Synthetic Cubism than with Futurist concepts and iconography. The trophy of the title is a Tuscan colloquialism for an inn sign, with assembled objects (Chianti wine, a goblet, a lemon and a pipe).